Nac’s Brandon Jones Breaks Down His Early Recruiting Thought Process + Receives Offer From Washington State
Brandon Jones isn't even 16 years old and has 10 colleges that want him to join their football team upon graduation from Nacogdoches High School in 2016.
It might sound crazy, speculating someone who doesn't yet have a driver's license is ready to play college football, but that's college recruiting these days.
How is Jones (6-0, 180) dealing with the process? He's very far ahead of his sophomore peers in East Texas and, for the most part, nationally.
We caught up with the rising Nacogdoches star earlier in the week, prior to him receiving his most recent offer from Washington State on Wednesday.
"It just gives me a good idea that I have the ability to play Division I ball already," Jones said of all the offers. "It really amazes me how all these teams are already interested in me. Just being a sophomore, there's two more years to go and hopefully even more schools will look at me."
Things started for Jones on Oct. 30, 2013, when Texas A&M gave him his first scholarship opportunity. Texas Tech followed in early December to round out the first big year of the process after the safety recorded 95 tackles, five interceptions, one defensive touchdown and two touchdowns on punt returns.
"That one from A&M, especially from a team like that, was really big," Jones said. "It was really big and really shocking and exciting at the same time. It all happened so fast. As a kid, just schools like that and watching other kids get scholarships and other offers, to get one is just unbelievable."
Fast forward. Jones is now a very hot commodity in the Class of 2016.
Jones broke down how he feels about each of the first eight schools that offered him for the East Texas fan base, starting with defending national champion Florida State.
"I talk to the coaches there and they're really down-to-earth people," Jones said. "They're just really good coaches. Knowing that Florida State won the national championship last year, that gives them an edge on the list of why they would be a good school. Them winning the championship isn't something any school can do. It takes effort and hard work and good players to make a team go to the national championship."
Texas A&M holds a special place for Jones since it offered first. The Aggies are joined by LSU and Mississippi from the SEC.
Ole Miss also has offered Nacogdoches teammate Jaylon Lane. The Class of 2015 prospect briefly committed to the Rebels before reopening his recruitment. The duo also share a common scholarship opportunity from Oklahoma State.
Lane has said Ole Miss is still an option.
Jones learned about the Rebels from Lane in addition to his own interactions with the Rebels' staff.
"Hopefully we can get around to visiting them," Jones said. "Ole Miss is a great school, an SEC school. It doesn't get any better than that. Jaylon being a really good friend who I've grown up with, and him helping me with both of us going through the same process, really helps me. He's always there for me to help me make good decisions about schools. Just him being older than me and him having more experience, helps me in the long run."
LSU offered Jones last Thursday to wrap up current SEC options.
"I've heard a lot of people say, and I believe it myself, that the best players play in the SEC," Jones said. "LSU is really known for their defensive teams and they produce defensive backs in the NFL which is something I intend on trying to make if everything works out. LSU is a great school. All the SEC schools look great to me."
But there are quite a few other fairly local options as well.
Baylor, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, TCU and Texas Tech give Jones the opportunity to showcase his abilities in a pass-heavy Big 12 Conference.
"I'm not ruling out the Big 12 at all," Jones said. "The Big 12 is, to some people, the second-best of all divisions. Oklahoma and Oklahoma State are really good teams. I talk to the defensive back coaches at both schools. They explained to me how I can benefit from going to their schools, but they also make me understand that whichever school I go to that they'll respect my decision."
Jones is still learning about TCU, which offered Sunday, but has some impressions of Texas Tech and Baylor.
"Texas Tech, it's pretty far from here, but it's a really great school," Jones said. "I really like all the coaches there. They're really good coaches. Texas Tech is pretty much the only school that has really talked to me about starting early as a freshman or a sophomore.
"Baylor was a sudden offer, but I really do enjoy the coaches at Baylor. Hopefully I can check out the campus and see how everything is down there."
Jones says his recruiting process won't wrap up any time soon.
He wants to get to know all the schools that ultimately offer him before making the life-changing decision.
"I want to look at schools that really produce safeties where a main focus is defense and winning national championships, big games and setting records," Jones said. "Starting early would be great. I want to see how the players communicate. I like to blitz, so teams that will actually give me plays that I could blitz on. Also, I really like track, so schools that will give me the opportunity to run track."
2016 East Texas Football Players With Division I FBS Offers
- Travon Fuller, ATH, Athens, 6-0, 160 -- offer from Texas A&M (1)
- Brandon Jones, S, Nacogdoches, 6-0, 180 — offers from Baylor, Florida State, LSU, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, TCU, Texas Tech, Washington State (10)